Developer

Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

Windows 7 offers many improvements over XP and Vista, but the absence of the Quick Launch toolbar isn't one of them. Here's how to get it back.

In a previous TR Dojo Challenge question, I asked TechRepublic members TR Dojo Challenge: How do you enable the Quick Launch toolbar on Windows 7? And several members were quick to answer the call. Here are the steps.

  1. Right click on an empty space on the Windows 7 taskbar and make sure "Lock the taskbar" is NOT checked. This will allow us to move the Quick Launch bar once we reactivate it.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  2. Right click on an empty space on the Windows 7 taskbar and from the resulting Context Menu, click Toolbars and then New Toolbar.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  3. When the New Toolbar - Choose a folder window appears, paste the following path into the location bar:
  4. %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick LaunchRestore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

  5. Once you're certain that the path shows AppData | Roaming | Microsoft | Internet Explorer | Quick Launch, click Select Folder.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7The Quick Launch toolbar will now appear on the Windows 7 taskbar, but it will be on the right side of the screen next to the System Tray. Let's move it back to the left side where the toolbar should be.
  6. Click on the left edge (dotted lines) of the new Quick Launch toolbar, and drag it over to the left as far as it will go.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  7. To remove the text labels shown on the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click on the left edge of the toolbar (dotted lines) and from the resulting Context Menu, uncheck both "Show Text and "Show Title. At this point, the Quick Launch toolbar looks like it did in Windows XP and Vista, but it's still on the wrong side of the taskbar.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  8. Click and drag the left edge of the regular Windows taskbar toolbar (dotted lines to the right of the Start button) to the left of the taskbar, over the new Quick Launch toolbar. This will move the main area of the taskbar to the right of your new Quick Launch bar and place the Quick Launch bar next to the Start button. Stop when both toolbars are the size you want.Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  9. You can now drag and drop your favorite applications or shortcuts onto the new Quick Launch toolbar and "unpin" the default applications from the regular taskbar.
  10. Restore the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7

  11. Once you finished adding things to the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click a blank space on the taskbar and click "Lock the taskbar".

I also like to enable "Use small icons" under the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties menu.

With the new Quick Launch toolbar in place, no applications "pinned" to the regular taskbar, small icons in use, and the taskbar locked, my Desktop is just the way I like it.

And the TechRepublic swag goes to...

This week's coffee mugs and laptop stickers to ak87, who was first to describe the process through Step 5, robert.johnson2, who provided the first complete answer, and to Samuel Leung, who submitted a well-written answer and links to a YouTube video that demonstrates the process.

Thanks to everyone who submitted an answer.

You can also sign up to receive the latest from the TR Dojo through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

66 comments
Hwalker1
Hwalker1

I see no improvement at all in doing this. My desktop toolbar  has all the icons on it that I need and they all open instantly. I suppose if you have been using XP or the last 14 years and just switched to windows 7 then it may help you to feel at home, but with Windows 10 being a compulsory download (if you don't want to pay for it later), than why bother. 

Excellent article though.

pinegroove
pinegroove

I am wondering if a person could use this method of Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows XP Media Edition? I had the "blue e"(Internet Explorer)icon and the "Show Desktop icon" to disappear, they were sitting next to the Start Button. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Jeanette Gonzales Email: jnttgnzls@yahoo.com

terryd64
terryd64

What's the deal? So some people like the QLT what's it to you? SuperBar, QLT, Desktop launcher in the task bar, custom launch folders in the task bar, whatever. REMINDER: The P in P.C. is for Personal, that means choice. If some one wants to revert to the QLT instead of superbar and it makes them more productive, who cares? I myself haven't upgraded to Win 7 yet (I will at the next hardware upgrade cycle) I use QLT on the left for samll apps I often use through out the day, The main task bar has my running apps, and on the right is the desktop launcher, and second custom launch folder. I use these to organize things that I need to get to quickly in 1 or 2 clicks. Stop hating. If you don't want to use the QLT then don't but stop bagging on the people that do. Very useful and informative article that provides users a PERSONAL choice for their PERSONAL computer. Thanks for posting it up Bill.

mbrown
mbrown

What amazes me is how few people use or know about the Quick Launch in Windows XP, MS did a terrible job of making it easy to find and set up. When I show it to users they are extermely happy to finally be able to clean up their desktops (and when I have to help them, I am happy!).

A.C
A.C

To launch a second copy of an app (e.g. a new IE window) try your middle mouse button......

A.C
A.C

I run two tool/task bars in XP, I can't seem to do the same in 7. I've tried ripping off the address part but it just doesn't do the trick... this is a much bigger drop off IMHO than not having the QL bar available by default, at least superbar gives a reasonable alternative to the functionality of the QL bar, it appears multiple taskbars on the other hand, are just a thing of the past.... and before anyone asks, my lower taskbar has QL, "my computer" and the address tools bars, leaving the top task bar with lots of space for tasks and notification icons...

vaor.itt
vaor.itt

Thanks! Great article! I thought the had just eliminated the QL toolbar.

techalon
techalon

What for? The toolbar already functions as QL by pinning applications to it. It amazes me the number of people that don't know the power of the new taskbar and this is not a site devoted to novice users. Apparently plenty of people haven't spent enough time really learning how to use Win7.

ideason88
ideason88

I was just getting frustrated with the super bar yesterday and missed the quick-launch. I am surprised at the response of many that don't like QL or think the new SuperBar is better - it's not better IMHO, it's different and serves a different purpose. I like both, but for some things QL is better. For instance, (and maybe someone will post that this is an option I can turn off) but if you want to "pin" multiple documents from the same program, they will be grouped on the super bar. I have several scripts that I run from QL, that SuperBar groups together, meaning I then have to right-click through the options to get them to run. Place them in QL, one click and it's done. There's still something to be said for a computer that works they you want it, not the way the developer thinks you want it! Thanks Bill!

dmstenhouse
dmstenhouse

Why do you need to bother, win7 taskbar is quick lunch anyway, pointless article

dabruton
dabruton

I like the new Win 7 bar OK but I find it is confusing if I already have an instance of a program open and want to open a new instance. In Win XP, clicking on the quick launch icon would ALWAYS open a new instance. In Win 7, clicking on the task bar icon will not open a new instance unless there is not already an instance running. I seem to notice this most often with Firefox. Sometimes I just want to run a separate instance rather than open a new tab within the current instance. I have not studied it to see if this behavior can be changed or if it is unique to Firefox but I find it annoying. I also always run with the single-click option rather than the double-click option so I am not sure if it is related to that or not. Is anyone else confused by the start a new instance vs. select the current instance behavior of the new bar?

melias
melias

Works well. I missed the QL bar, and do not really like the 'Super' bar.

Underground_In_TN
Underground_In_TN

And I don't understand the desire to restore, much less use, the old Quick Launch toolbar (QLT). The Windows 7 taskbar is a brilliant combination of the old taskbar, in that it gives a handy way to quickly access running programs, and the old QLT, which let you launch your most-used apps and utilities without going through the Start menus or finding their shortcuts on your (usually hidden) desktop. From the Start menu, find the apps you'd want to put on the QLT, right-click it and choose "Pin to Taskbar". The shortcut will now appear permanently on the Taskbar, just like it would on the QLT. Click the icon to launch, right-click to do taskbar things like maximize/minimize, move or close. But did you notice what else you get in the right-click pop-up? Wow, you get a list of the app's Recent Files (or links or whatever). And you can pin or unpin those Recent files so that they always remain in that app-specific pop-up menu. So now apps like Word can have Favorites just like IE. It's so much better than the old Taskbar or Quick Launch Toolbar ever was. For apps you don't access often but still want quicker access to than the Start menu labyrinth, you can pin them to the Start menu, and gain the same powerful app-specific pop-up you get with the Taskbar. MS did a great job with this part of Windows 7.

tentaro
tentaro

I don't see the point of using it anymore when you can pin icons directly to the task bar. Just another toolbar taking up space with almost exactly the same functionality already there in Win7 without the toolbar. It is nice to see that it is able to be brought back for the die hard fans of it though.

Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182
Murfski-19971052791951115876031193613182

This may be a bit off-topic, but if you want a pretty good quick-launch application, try Accelerun (www.svarsoft.com). It takes a bit of getting used to, but it sure makes it easier to launch apps.

pizzacheeks
pizzacheeks

I am not sure why anyone would want to use the quick launch bar when they have the superbar One of the main lure of W7 is the superbar. I love the superbar. That is why I have W7. I love that I can open a program with out have to navigate through the start menu or even minimize my open program to get to my desktop icons. Also I don't have the quick launch icon and the open program icon on taskbar at the same time it cluttering up my taskbar. Finally I love the larger taskbar and icons The quick launch bar was great for it time. Now it is time to move on and learn to love the superbar, which is easy to love and difficult to hate As more people learn to use the superbar they will love it too

AllFiredUp
AllFiredUp

This was one of the first things I realized with Windows 7! It's still rather irksome that they disable it by default. It still surprises me after years of working with Windows users, so few utilize the Quick Launch toolbar!? I've heard users and reviewers rave about 'The Dock' used in the Mac OS...ad nauseum. I've also heard similar response to the Dell Dock, which is an obvious knock-off. But Quick Launch accomplishes the same thing and uses far less memory and takes up a fraction of the space on the screen. This is very useful information to have for future reference...thanks for posting!

Editor's Picks